The Palestinian national and Islamic factions meet in Gaza to determine a national program that would seek to establish their political aims vis-à-vis Israel and the shape of a potential unified leadership.
Israeli Health Minister Danny Naveh repeats calls for Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to be expelled, saying he was a “greater obstacle to peace” than Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.
According to Israeli media sources, Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decides during a cabinet meeting to allocate
million to fortify isolated Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including building walls around settlements and creating additional “security zones.”
Tank shelling in Gaza kills three unarmed Palestinians. Local officials describe the incident as a war crime and say ambulances were prevented from getting to the wounded, who bled to death.
In interviews with the Israeli media, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says his plan for a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip does not include any reference to the creation of a Palestinian state, and could create a situation sustainable for many years.
A U.S. State Department spokesman voices American opposition to Hamas’ participation in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), calling for Hamas to be “ostracized and stripped of any power and influence” as an organization. The U.S. considers Hamas an “international terrorist organization.”
Palestinian President Yasser Arafat brushes aside statements made by Sharon that he could be the target of an Israeli strike. “I do not fear Sharon’s threats, I fear no one but God.”
According to a public opinion poll conducted by the Steinmetz Center for Peace, the majority of Israelis polled support the policy of assassinating Palestinians. Seventy-four percent of respondents answered positively to the question whether the liquidation of Palestinians involved in terrorist activities is justified. Only 21 percent say they oppose the policy.
Fateh revolutionary council member Mohammad Dahlan and Gaza Hamas head Abdel Aziz Rantisi meet in Gaza to discuss ways of pushing the internal Palestinian dialogue forward. During the meeting President Arafat talks by phone to Rantisi, who says Hamas is serious about political partnership and a unified national command.
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter says the reason for widespread animosity against the United States is because it has not made any progress on the Palestinian track. Carter adds that since Truman’s time in office, the U.S. administration has maintained a balanced stance in dealing with Arab rights. This administration has sided only with Israel.
A group of Jewish settlers raids the Aqtab Mosque in the old city of Hebron. After emptying the mosque, the group brings in beds and some furniture and settles inside.
During a press conference at the White House with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, U.S. President George W. Bush tells reporters, “If Sharon were to decide to withdraw, it would be a positive development.” Mubarak answers, “I think any withdrawal from occupied territory is very highly appreciated, but I would like the withdrawal to coincide with the Road Map.”
In an armed clash with Israeli soldiers inside the Gaza settlement of Netzarim, two men from Hamas’ Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades and Fateh’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are killed.
Bush and Sharon meet in Washington to discuss Sharon’s withdrawal plan from Gaza. The plan foresees a withdrawal from all settlements and military installations in the Gaza Strip, and the evacuation of four settlements in the northern West Bank, as well as military installations in their vicinity.
The White House announces that it will extend the permit granted to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to maintain its offices in Washington. The U.S. Congress considers the PLO a terrorist organization, so it needs a special permit to stay in the capital.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II cancels a meeting with Bush after the latter’s endorsement of Sharon’s plan and apparent rejection of the Palestinian right of return and the withdrawal to the 1967 borders.
Israel assassinates Gaza Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi and two of his bodyguards in Gaza City.
In reaction to the assassination of Rantisi, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana says the EU has consistently condemned extra-judicial killings. “Actions of this type are not only unlawful; they are not conducive to lowering tension.”
One Palestinian is killed in a suicide bombing at the Erez Crossing. An Israeli soldier is also killed, and three others are injured.
According to Yedioth Ahronot, the Israeli Finance Ministry is formulating a plan in which Gaza Strip settlers will be granted $1.5 million to evacuate their homes. This averages between $400,000 and $500,000 for each of the 2,000 Jewish families living in the Strip.
The Israeli army issues confiscation orders to residents of the Walajeh village, near Beit Jala, whose private land lies on the route of the separation wall. This confiscation will see the appropriation of a total of 176 dunums (176,000 square meters) of Palestinian land.
Nine Palestinians are killed and dozens injured in an Israeli army incursion in Beit Lahya that started on April 19.
European Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. He says such a state should be void of cantons separated by tanks, settlements and walls. Patten also rejects Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal plan, warning the United States that its efforts will be in vain if it continues to disregard the viewpoints of the Islamic world.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expresses his concern over events in the Gaza Strip, calling on Israel to “respect international law as an occupying power,” and to consider the dire consequences of its operations.
American University of Jenin professor Yasser Abu Laimoun is killed while standing with his sister during an Israeli incursion there. Four others are killed by Israeli troops in Qalqilya.
Four al-Aqsa Martyrs activists are killed during an Israeli raid into Jenin by Israeli troops.
In an interview with Yedioth Ahronot, the commander of the Israeli Border Police, David Tsur, acknowledges that the Israeli security services have infiltrated collaborators into the Hamas movement, and that “human intelligence” is one reason behind Israel being able to locate and assassinate Sheikh Yassin and Rantisi.
An Israeli soldier is killed and three are injured in an armed clash in Izna, Hebron. The attack is claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Abdel Aziz Rantisi unit.
Several Palestinian, Israeli, and female foreign protestors are treated for tear gas poisoning and bruises after Israeli soldiers break up the first all-female protest against Israel’s West Bank separation wall in Biddu village, northwest of Jerusalem.
Bush says he is ready to support a Palestinian state with temporary borders in Gaza and on 42 percent of the West Bank. He also tells mainly France, Egypt and Jordan that he has a commitment from Sharon not to annex West Bank settlements to Israel or unilaterally demarcate the borders of the Palestinian state.
Israeli troops kill a mentally handicapped Palestinian girl near the Morag settlement in Gaza.
During an Israeli army incursion into the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, two members of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, are killed.
Four Israeli soldiers are injured in a car bombing near Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian PM Ahmad Qurei’ meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II, and the latter affirms the kingdom’s position that no final agreement can be reached outside of negotiations.
A statement on the Middle East peace process issued by the EU’s Council of Ministers reads: “No declared views on the possible shape of a final settlement can preempt the negotiation of that settlement.” The statement went on to affirm that the EU will not accept “any changes to the pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement between the parties.”
Four members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fateh’s military wing, are assassinated when their car is shelled by Israeli helicopters.
Two gunmen infiltrate the Gush Katif settlement in Gaza and kill a settler and her four children. The two gunmen, from the Popular Resistance Committees, a grass-roots movement established by Fateh, are also killed.
Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip lay the cornerstone for a new quarter in the Neveh Dekalim settlement, according to Israeli press sources. The new quarter, which will include 21 housing units, will be complete in a few months.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak calls on Muslims to resist any attempts to change the status of Jerusalem. He also urges the Palestinian factions to unite to more effectively fight the occupation.
Thirty-five homeowners from Ras Khames neighborhood of Shu’fat, in East Jerusalem are informed that their houses are slated for demolition to make room for Israel’s separation wall.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos says the international community should not remain captive to the 50,000 Jewish settlers who do not want to leave Gaza and the West Bank. Moratinos’ statements come following the Likud Party’s rejection of Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal plan from Gaza. The Spanish FM says the international community has a responsibility not to show support for the settlement policy in the Israeli-occupied territories.
The Quartet, comprising the U.S., the UN, the EU and Russia, affirms that all final-status issues, including borders and refugees, must be settled in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The committee calls on any Israeli withdrawal from Gaza to be “full and comprehensive” and to be undertaken in the context of the Road Map for peace.
An incursion into the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza, where 37 houses are demolished, kills two Palestinians and injures 25.
Israeli authorities issue two military orders for the demolition of 11 homes in the old city of Hebron and for the confiscation of lands near the Ibrahimi Mosque to clear land around the Kiryat Arba settlement.
The UN General Assembly passes a draft resolution stipulating that the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are occupied Palestinian territories that can only be represented by the Palestinian delegate. According to international law, the Palestinian people have a right to self-determination and sovereignty over their land.
Two Islamic Jihad activists open fire and are killed during a settlers’ funeral march on the Gush Katif road in the Gaza Strip.
A bomb blows up an armored vehicle in Gaza, killing six Israeli soldiers. The explosion is claimed by the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, although other factions, including Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, also claims responsibility. The perpetrators display different body parts, allegedly severed from the soldiers’ bodies, to people in the neighborhood. The groups say they will only return the body parts if certain conditions are met.
Israeli cabinet rejects any negotiations for the return of the soldiers’ remains, and says the Israeli army will remain in the Zaytouna quarter of Gaza City, where 9 Palestinians were killed and over 120 injured, until all the parts are returned.
In a letter to Palestinian PM Qurei’, Bush says the U.S. will not prejudice any final-status issues, stressing the goal of the peace process is to “end the occupation that began in 1967.” He also urges the Palestinians to accept Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal plan from Gaza, which is the “first step toward this goal.”
A spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry condemns Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons. To date, there are 373 prisoners under the age of 18, three under 14. The spokesperson says France denounces any kind of mistreatment of children, regardless of their nationality.
In an interview with Euronews, Israeli refusenik Nathan Shapira says the number of Israeli soldiers refusing to serve in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is on the rise. “It is important that people in the world, especially in Europe, know that we in Israel are fighting in our own way against the occupation.”
Israeli police ban construction materials from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque compound without reason. The materials were to renovate and stabilize the marble inlaying on the Dome of the Rock.
An Israeli incursion into Rafah, ostensibly for the retrieval of the bodies of the 6 soldiers, leaves 12 Palestinians and 2 Israeli soldiers dead; 88 homes are also demolished, leaving 1,100 people homeless, according to figures from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
The European Commission signs a funding agreement with UNRWA, pledging the refugee agency some €60 million. The objective is to provide support for UNRWA’s education, health, social and relief programs.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, describes the house demolition policy used by Israel in Rafah as “not productive,” and urges Israel to exercise restraint.
The Turkish Higher Commission of Military Industries, headed by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, decides to cancel all contracts already signed or under deliberation with Israel to protest Israeli measures against the Palestinians.
Jordan and Israel upgrade their trade agreement, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, offering improved terms for rules of origin on exports manufactured jointly by the two countries for entry into the U.S. and later, possibly, to the EU. The agreement allows several components to enter the two countries duty-free and tax-free.
In its annual report, the U.S. State Department criticizes Israel over its dealings with Palestinian civilians, saying “Israeli security forces” have killed at least 573 Palestinians and internationals over the past year and have injured no less than 2,992 Palestinians, civilians and others. The report also says Israel uses excessive force, which has led to many deaths.
Yossi Sarid of the Israeli Meretz Party tells the New York Times that the Israeli operations in Gaza constitute a “war crime” since innocent people are being hurt.
At the peak of the Israeli invasion into the Brazil quarter in Gaza, 10 Palestinians are killed.
Israeli tanks fire into a peaceful demonstration in Tal al-Sultan quarter in Gaza, killing 14 people, including two children.
Jimmy Carter criticizes Israel before a World Health Organization (WHO) conference in Geneva, saying ordinary citizens have been severely harmed by the repeated Israeli attacks since September 2000.
A Tel Aviv court charges West Bank Fateh Secretary Marwan Barghouti with the murder of five Israelis. The Israeli attorney general recommends five life sentences.
According to Yedioth Ahronot, chief rabbi of the Kiryat Arba settlement, Dov Leor, says the Israeli army is allowed to target civilian residents during army incursions.
Sami Salameh, 19, blows himself up at a checkpoint east of Nablus, killing himself and wounding one Israeli soldier. The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claims responsibility.
In the Arab summit in Tunis, the leaders’ closing statement condemns Israel’s operation in Rafah and those that target Palestinian leaders, and also any military operations that target civilians “without distinction,” in reference to suicide bombings.
Egypt sends its intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to the region to try and hammer out a security arrangement between the Palestinians and Israel.
Two members of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades are killed in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City when an Israeli Apache helicopter fires missiles at their car. A third person is killed by a second missile as he runs to help. Eight bystanders are also injured.
In an interview with Israeli Channel 10, President Arafat says Egypt has vowed to send some 60 security personnel to the Strip to train Palestinian counterparts.
In its 2003 annual report, Amnesty International accuses the Israeli army of war crimes against the Palestinians, including the “use of unlawful killings, obstruction of medical assistance and targeting of medical personnel, extensive and wanton destruction of property, torture and the use of human shields.” The organization also accuses Palestinian armed groups of crimes against humanity through their “deliberate targeting of civilians.”
UNRWA calls on the international community to provide the agency with $15.84 million in emergency assistance to meet the needs of Rafah residents. The emergency appeal comes in the wake of Israeli operations in Rafah that have left hundreds of people homeless.
An Israeli incursion into Rafah demolishes 18 homes.
In an interview with Haaretz, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Israel is treating Palestinians the way Jews were treated in Spain 500 years ago during the Inquisition.
According to Haaretz, the Gush Qatif settlements in the Gaza Strip are still absorbing new settlers. Five Israeli families have recently moved to the Tal Qatifa settlement, while another two are preparing to move. Five families are preparing to move to the Netzarim settlement, while 20 families have registered to live in Kfar Darom. Six apartments are being established in Dougit settlement, while 15 families were recently settled in the Atzmonah settlement.
PM Sharon fires two right-wing ministers to ensure the Israeli cabinet’s acceptance of his withdrawal plan, which calls for the evacuation of all settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank by the end of 2005.
An Israeli court sentences West Bank Fateh leader Marwan Barghouti to 5 life sentences plus 40 years for his alleged role in planning attacks on Israelis.
A mentally disabled youth is killed during an Israeli incursion into Tulkarem.
In a letter to a conference in Switzerland, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls on the international community to exert greater efforts to assist Palestinian refugees. Annan says the number of refugees now living under the poverty line has risen from 20 to 60 percent.
Hosni Mubarak and presidential adviser Osama al-Baz meet Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in Cairo and reach an agreement to fortify Egypt’s military presence on the border with Gaza.
Israeli Trade and Industry Minister Ehud Olmert announces that Israel is permanently closing the Erez Industrial Zone on the border between Gaza and Israel. The closure will mean the termination of some 4,000 Palestinian jobs.
In an interview with Haaretz Oded Tira, president of the Israeli Manufacturers Association, says Israeli industrialists prefer an arrangement that facilitates continued economic cooperation. “We should be clear that if we retreat from the model of economic cooperation with the Palestinians, it reflects a serious crisis. This decision represents one of the most serious crises in the peace process.”
Manal Ibrahim Ghanem, 28, appeals to human rights organizations to push for her release so she can return to her four children in the Tulkarem refugee camp. She also asks that her husband be allowed to visit his son, born inside the Hadareem Prison, where Ghanem is being held.
According to Israeli television, the Israeli Legal Advisor Meni Mazoz will close the “The Greek Island” corruption file against PM Sharon due to lack of evidence. The move means rejecting the recommendation of Edna Arbel, former state prosecutor, and now an Israeli Supreme Court judge, that Sharon be brought before the court.
Missiles from Israeli helicopters blow up a taxi, killing two members of Al- Aqsa martyrs Brigades.
U.S. Embassy spokesman Paul Patin tells the New York Times, “We accept Israel’s right to build a fence for security, but when the route goes deep into the West Bank, it has political dimensions, and we have concerns about that.”
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the American position that the wall is problematic because it defines permanent boundaries, confiscates Palestinian territories and makes daily life more difficult for civilians is very clear. Boucher says this stance has been presented to Israel.
According to Ma’ariv, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has ordered plans drawn up for hundreds of new homes in the Gush Etzion Bloc for use by 7,500 Gaza settlers.
Israeli undercover units open fire in a Jenin coffee shop, killing an Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades member.
At the European Summit, the EU makes a statement welcoming the Israeli plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, but affirms it will not recognize changes in the 1967 borders without Palestinian approval. It also calls on the PNA to prevent terrorist activities, and on Israel to refrain from unlawful acts of self-defense and the demolition of Palestinian homes.
In a statement released by the British Consulate, three British MPs claim they were fired on by Israeli soldiers during their tour of Rafah city with a UN convey. The Israeli army is investigating the claims.
The Kuwaiti cabinet decides to allocate $3 million to build homes for Palestinians whose houses have been demolished by Israel. Kuwaiti Deputy PM Deifallah Sharar says the money will be channeled through international human rights organizations.
Official and private Palestinian institutions and foreign solidarity organizations announce the launching of a campaign, “Freedom Summer” in support of the Palestinian cause. The participants say the campaign will extend over a period of 56 days - one day for each year of Israeli occupation - and will include awareness programs, wide media coverage, press conferences and training of volunteers on how to work with lobby groups from the United States and Europe.
Over 50 people are injured in the village of Zawiyeh, near Nablus, during protests against the West Bank separation wall going up there.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher reaffirms in Cairo that his country’s role will be based on a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, also denying that a canal is being dug along the Palestinian-Egyptian border.
President Arafat meets with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman. Egypt offers to deploy 200 security experts in Gaza and to build police stations and prisons.
Two Palestinians are killed in a clash with the Israeli army near the Dougit settlement in the Gaza Strip. Israel claims the two were trying to break into the settlement to carry out an operation.
Representatives of the Quartet meet in Taba to reiterate their support for the Egyptian initiative. The meeting includes U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns and Terje Roed-Larsen, UN special coordinator for the Middle East.
UNRWA Commissioner General Peter Hansen and President Arafat sign an agreement in Ramallah in which the PNA will grant the agency a piece of land in Rafah to provide 400 houses for residents made homeless by Israeli demolitions.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher says his country will refuse any Israeli presence on the Egyptian-Palestinian border and calls for the deployment of international observers to ensure that both sides honor their commitments.
Seven people are killed in an Israeli army incursion into Nablus, purportedly to target the heads of military wings. Israeli troops raid the Jitan quarter in Nablus’ old city and open fire on a house where activists are hiding.
Two Palestinians are killed when rockets are fired at a workshop in the Zeitoun neighborhood. Israel alleges the workshop manufactured rockets.
One Israeli soldier is killed and five injured when a bomb goes off in a tunnel under an Israeli army outpost near the Gush Qatif settlement junction. The attack is claimed by Izzedin al Qassam Brigades, in revenge for the assassination of their leaders Sheikh Yassin and Rantisi.
Israeli troops destroy 80 wells, used for irrigation and drinking water,
in Yamoun, in the Jenin area.
Two Israelis are killed when Hamas activists from Gaza fire homemade al-Qassam rockets into the southern Israeli town of Sderot.
Two Palestinians are killed by Israeli tank and heavy machinegun fire in Rafah.
French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier meets with President Arafat in his besieged Ramallah headquarters despite Israeli efforts to marginalize the Palestinian president. Barnier expresses France’s support for the Road Map and the Egyptian efforts. He says the Palestinians must “put an end to acts of violence,” while Israel must “stop building the wall and stop acts of demolition.”
Hamas commander Khalil Udwan is killed in Beit Hanoun during an Israeli incursion into the area, and a 14-year-old boy is also killed while standing on the roof of his house.
Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, whose country has assumed the presidency of the EU, warns that its assistance to Israel is dependent on Israel’s cooperation. “It takes two to tango and Sharon had better get ready to dance a little with the EU.”
An Israeli incursion into the Balata refugee camp leaves one dead and several injured.
According to Ma’ariv, the Israeli army has taken control of the area surrounding Beit Hanoun, in Gaza, and intends to install an 8-kilometer-wide security strip to protect itself from the al-Qassam rockets being fired by Palestinians at Sderot.
MK Azmi Bishara holds a vigil and hunger strike near the wall about to be erected in a-Ram, to protest what he calls the apartheid system being established in Palestine, and the division of Palestinian communities from one another, as well as people from their land, property and workplaces.
According to Israeli military sources, three al-Qassam rockets are fired by Palestinian activists on the Gadeed settlement and the town of Sderot causing no injuries.
A settler is killed and his wife injured after armed Palestinian men ambush their car on the road between the Mavo Dotan and Shakeed settlements near Jenin.
The Israeli army enters the Ein Beit-Ilma refugee camp in Nablus, killing four Palestinians, two senior activists and two civilians. An Israeli army officer is also killed and three soldiers are wounded.
The Quartet meeting in Jerusalem lashes out at the PNA. It demands that the PNA achieve progress in security issues and control armed groups before any progress in the Road Map can be made.
A report delivered by Peter Hansen on behalf of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the best way to deal with the economic and social deprivation in the Palestinian territories is by ending the Israeli occupation. The report, which is presented before the UN Economic and Social Council, says that donor countries cannot keep up with the destruction caused by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
According to a statement issued by the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages in the Negev, Israel is planning to take over 45 villages, with a total population of 70,000, and demolish 30,000 homes, in order to receive Jewish settlers after the Israeli evacuation of the Gaza Strip. The council says it will open roads between the villages in an attempt to foil the Israeli scheme.
Israeli tanks and armored vehicles rumble into Beit Hanoun, killing seven Palestinians and demolishing 25 houses.
Eight Israeli soldiers are injured in Rafah when an anti-tank missile is fired at an Israeli jeep near the Morag settlement. The Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades claims responsibility.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules that Israel’s West Bank separation wall is “contrary to international law.” “Israel is under an obligation to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, to dismantle forthwith the structure therein situated, and to repeal or render ineffective forthwith all legislative or regulatory acts relating thereto ....”
Three Palestinian activists are assassinated in Rafah, members of the Nasser Salah Eddin Brigades and the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wings of the Popular Resistance Movement and Hamas, after an Israeli missile was fired at their car.
“Israel will continue to build the security fence, which is meant to protect the lives of the citizens of Israel,” says Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.
A bomb explodes outside a bus in Tel Aviv, killing an Israeli soldier and wounding over 20 others. PM Sharon directs sharp words to the international court. “The operation was executed under the sponsorship of The Hague,” he says.
UNRWA signs an agreement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the PNA to build new houses for more than 15,000 people on 430 dunums of land given by the PNA for Palestinians whose houses were demolished by the Israeli army in Rafah.
Israeli troops, stationed on rooftops, open fire at vehicles belonging to the Red Cross, which were delivering food and formula milk for babies to the residents of Beit Hanoun.
Israeli forces tear down 31 houses in Khan Younis.
PM Sharon meets with U.S. envoys Steve Hadley and Elliot Abrams and promises to dismantle the illegal settlement outposts in compliance with Israel’s obligations toward the Road Map “as soon as possible.”
The director of the Peres Peace Center Ron Pundak says that President Arafat remains the national leader of the Palestinians and is the one capable of leading his people to a Palestinian state. He says it is in Israel’s best interests to allow the establishment of this state, and stresses that in Arafat there is a partner for peace.
President Arafat appoints Mousa Arafat as head of general security in the Gaza Strip. On July 18, Fateh organizes a demonstration in front of the Legislative Council headquarters in Gaza to protest the move. That night, armed clashes take place between armed members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the PNA military intelligence apparatus in Rafah. Eighteen people are injured, including civilians.
In a presidential decree, Arafat announces the paring down of the security services to three, and the appointment of new people to various positions within the PNA.
According to Israeli’s Channel Two, French President Jacque Chirac informs Israeli PM Sharon in a letter that he is not welcome in Paris after Sharon calls on the Jews of France to immigrate to Israel. Paris is also requesting a letter of explanation from Sharon over the comments.
Thirteen Palestinian factions including Fateh, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular and Democratic Fronts for the Liberation of Palestine sign a statement saying the chaos in Gaza can only be ended through comprehensive democratic reforms within the PNA and an end to corruption.
The Israeli Peace Now movement claims Israel is deceiving the American public and its own citizens as to how many illegal settlement outposts are spread throughout the West Bank. According to the group, the Israeli Defense Ministry says 28 settlement outposts have been established since March 2001, while there are 51 in reality.
The Presbyterian Church in the United States concludes its 216th conference in Virginia by deciding to halt its investments in Israel to protest the wall being constructed in the West Bank. The church, with 30 million members, has investments in Israel to the tune of $7 million.
Two members of Islamic Jihad’s military wing, al-Quds Brigades, are assassinated in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City by missiles fired from Israeli helicopters.
An incursion into Tulkarem by an Israeli Special Forces Unit kills six al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members.
Two hundred British members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords sign a memo calling on parliamentarians to press the government to pressure Israel into removing the separation wall in the West Bank, Britain should impose sanctions if Israel doesn’t heed the call.
According to Yedioth Ahronot, Israeli Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz orders the planting of 72,000 olive trees in the West Bank so that “ownership of the trees will be in Jewish hands only and would prevent transfer of lands to Palestinian hands in the future.” The plan, which costs millions of dollars, will be carried out in the next few weeks and will focus on planting trees close to Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank.
According to Haaretz, the Israel Lands Administration will put on the market, by the end of the year, a total of 1,815 lots of land in the West Bank for the construction of over 2,000 housing units in Jewish settlements. According to the report, land will be allotted to several settlements, including Har Gilo, Ariel, Betar Illit, Emmanuel and Kiryat Arba.
Palestinian, international and Israeli peace activists from the International Solidarity Movement begin a Freedom March in the southern West Bank town of Zababdeh to protest the West Bank separation wall. The march is due to arrive in Jerusalem on August 19 after passing through various affected towns and cities.
Members of the Likud and Shinui parties meet with four Palestinian officials to discuss the Israeli withdrawal plan from Gaza. The meeting is initiated by the Israeli-Palestinian Center for Research and Information (IPCRI). The participants discuss the separation plan and ways to jumpstart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Two hand grenades explode, rocking a cell in the Gaza prison, killing three and injuring four others. All the casualties are men accused of collaboration with Israel. The Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades claims responsibility for the attack, saying “the time for collaborators to pay a price has come.”
The Palestinians, the European Union and the United States express discontent over the Israeli government decision to ratify the building of 600 housing units for the largest West Bank settlement Ma’aleh Adumim, which is home to some 30,000 Jewish settlers.
Three Palestinians are injured in Beit Hanoun by Israeli helicopter missiles and three people are killed in the Yibna refugee camp in Rafah.
An Israeli incursion into the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip leaves three dead. On the same day, two are killed in Rafah and Nablus.
The U.S. State Department issues a statement urging its citizens to immediately leave the Gaza Strip and others to delay travel to the West Bank and Israel for the time being.
According to Israeli army radio, the Israeli Housing Ministry is preparing to build a new settlement to connect East Jerusalem to Ma’aleh Adumim. It will include thousands of new homes. The plan entails the confiscation of more than 12,443 dunums of land from the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of a-Tur, Anata, Ezarriyya and Abu Dis.
Israeli troops move out of Beit Hanoun, in the Gaza Strip, after a 38-day siege of the town, leaving behind 20 demolished houses, 200 damaged ones and some $43 million in lost revenue from damage to the town’s infrastructure and agricultural production. At least 17 people are killed during the siege and more than 160 are wounded.
The Israeli Interior Ministry announces that all tourists entering Israel must now state their religion on new entrance forms. Many tourists have protested the new procedure, especially the French.
A report issued by the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem entitled “The Forbidden Roads: The Discriminatory West Bank Road Regime,” finds there are 41 settler bypass roads in the West Bank on which it is illegal for Palestinians to travel. The report says the roads, which take up over 700 kilometers of roadway, are prohibited to Palestinians unless they are issued permits from the Israeli security establishment. Rejections are “given verbally and without explanation.”
In a speech to the Islamic-Christian Conference at his headquarters in Ramallah, President Arafat says Palestinians are willing to “extend [our] hands to the Israelis” to resume negotiations to guarantee peace and security for all. He also accuses the Israeli government of not respecting signed agreements, including the agreement for Palestinian police to carry arms.
According to BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Nick Springate, three BBC journalists and two Palestinians were held at gunpoint by the Israeli army in Nablus on August 11. He says the journalists, who had gone to interview a Palestinian physician and his elderly patient, were held in a house along with the doctor, during which their tapes, cell phones and equipment were confiscated.
Thousands of Palestinian prisoners begin a hunger strike in the three Israeli prisons of Hadareem, Eshel-Ber Saba’ and Nafha, demanding that their conditions be improved and complaining of medical negligence, of being strip-searched, beaten and having their family visits banned.
Apache missiles kill three Palestinians in Jabaliya by Apache missiles.
18.8.04 Members of the Likud vote against the idea of a unity government with the Israeli opposition party, Labor, which supports Sharon’s unilateral Gaza withdrawal plan.
Three settlers are hurt by two rockets in the Neveh Dekalim settlement in Gaza, while a bomb damages an Israeli tank elsewhere in the Strip.
An explosion in the home of Hamas activist Ahmad Jabari kills five people and wounds seven others in Shujay’iyeh quarter of Gaza City. Israel claims responsibility for the blast, caused by explosives placed in an olive grove near Jabari’s house.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says that Israel believes Europe would only be allowed to help reconstruct Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal and will not have a security role there. His comments come after French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier says during a dinner meeting with Shalom on August 24 that the EU’s role in the peace process should be “recognized and reinforced.”
During a speech before the PLC, Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, advises Palestinian refugees to march to their homeland from Jordan as one unified bloc in order to “make the world pay attention.” Gandhi proposes a march of 50,000 refugees across the Jordan River, led by members of parliament.
According to Haaretz, during a meeting with representatives from the World Bank on August 29, Israel proposes that the World Bank buy the factories in the currently closed Erez Industrial Zone to be later reopened to Palestinian workers. The World Bank has yet to respond to the proposal.
Three Palestinians are killed by Israeli shelling in the Khan Younis refugee camp.
Three al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades activists survive an assassination attempt when their car is hit by an Israeli helicopter missile in Jenin. The missile also hit a home, injuring a young girl.
As two buses are leaving the central bus station, a double suicide bombing claims the lives of 16 Israelis and injures over a 100 in the southern desert city of Beersheba. The Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades claims responsibility, saying they are retaliating for the assassinations of Sheikh Yassin and Rantisi.
The Israeli Supreme Court rejects an appeal by the Palestinian Prisoners Club to return salt and milk, which were confiscated from the prisoners by various prison authorities. The court claims that a large amount of salt is unhealthy for the prisoners and that milk is not a “basic essential.”
Israel begins erecting concrete slabs on the Ramallah-Jerusalem road as part of the wall that will sever the West Bank from Jerusalem. The wall, which is being erected under heavy Israeli police protection, will be four meters high and will run between the Qalandia and Dahiyet al-Barid checkpoints.
Prisoners in Israeli jails suspend their two-week-long hunger strike after having received concessions from the Israeli prison authorities.
During an Israeli incursion in Deir al-Balah in Gaza, 4 people are killed and 2 buildings housing 40 families are demolished.
According to official Israeli government statistics, the number of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem in 2003 was the highest ever since Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967. According to the statistics, 33 percent of the city’s population is Palestinian, even though Israel has tried to confine this number to no more than 22 percent.
Israeli helicopters fire several missiles at the Yassin playground in the Shujay’iyeh quarter of Gaza City, killing 14 Hamas members.
Israeli troops pull out of northern Gaza after a five-day incursion. Fifty houses are destroyed, leaving 40 families homeless in the areas affected Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun and the Jabaliya camp.
An estimated 70,000 Israeli right-wingers demonstrate in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square against PM Sharon’s withdrawal plan from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of Gaza, and some West Bank settlers accuse him of exposing Israel to a civil war and call on him to resign.
Israel unveils a new zoning scheme for the eastern sector of Jerusalem as West Jerusalem mayor Uri Lublianski and city architect Uri Sheetrit announce the plan during a press conference in Jerusalem. One aim of the scheme, which will be implemented through 2020, is to lessen the overcrowding of the Old City by offering compensation to Old City residents to move out and by providing them with alternative housing.
Israeli police shut down the six voting registration stations for Palestinian elections in East Jerusalem, calling the process “illegal” and preventing the Palestinians from participating in the elections. The order issued by acting Israeli Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra is posted on the doors of the centers, and the employees are taken in for questioning.
Three members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are killed in an air strike on their car in Jenin.
A suicide bomber detonates an explosive belt near Qalqilya, wounding three Israeli soldiers and two Palestinians. Israeli security services say the bomber was planning to execute an operation inside Israel.
The Israeli security cabinet approves the principles for a bill on the disengagement plan and for payment to settlers who wish to evacuate. Each settler family will receive between $200,000 to $300,000 for resettlement inside Israel, the total evacuation expenses reaching up to $680 million.
Four activists from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus are killed when Israeli troops raid the building in which they were holed up.
According to Haaretz, settlers in Gaza are building hundreds of new greenhouses around the settlements. According to the newspaper, the settlers are either trying to grab more land in defiance of PM Sharon’s separation plan, or they are vying for more compensation once the evacuation takes place.
According to Radio Israel, the Israeli Civil Administration will establish a special liaison and coordination office for facilitating matters for the Palestinian Jerusalemites on the West Bank side of the separation wall.
U.S. President George Bush addresses the UN General Assembly reaffirming his support for a Palestinian state and offering some unusually pointed criticism of Israeli policies in the occupied territories. “Israel should impose a settlement freeze, dismantle unauthorized outposts, end the daily humiliations of the Palestinian people and avoid any actions that prejudice final negotiations,” Bush told the General Assembly.
Two Israeli border policemen are killed when 18-year-old Zeinab Abu Salem detonates a bomb in her bag in Jerusalem’s French Hill. Sixteen others are injured in the attack. The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claims responsibility.
Three Israeli soldiers are shot near the Gaza Strip settlement of Morag when three men from the Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades and Fateh’s Nasser Salah Eddin Brigades infiltrate the settlement and attack the soldiers with hand grenades and gunfire.
In its annual report, B’Tselem states that approximately 1,550 Palestinians who were not participating in any resistance activities have been killed since the start of the intifada. The report says that 309 of these Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of this year.
According to Haaretz, the Israeli Civil Administration announces that since the start of 2004, 2,200 dunums of land have been declared Israeli state land on which construction is prohibited. The land is located between East Jerusalem and the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement.
Two people are killed and 80 are arrested, during an Israeli army incursion in the Jenin refugee camp.
During this period, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, 412 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, 109 under the age of 18. One Palestinian was killed by Israeli civilians. Eleven Israeli civilians and 24 Israeli security forces personnel were killed by Palestinians. Within the Green Line, 20 Israeli civilians and 2 Israeli security forces personnel were killed by Palestinians. One Palestinian was killed by Israeli security forces.
Above figures from B’Tselem